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tv   [untitled]    August 29, 2011 3:30am-4:00am PDT

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cohesion of our block. we feel that this is compatible with the surrounding buildings. we have very diverse architecture on our block. three model will improve the appearance of their home and the block. we're thrilled that they decided to incur the additional cost of building upon their existing footprint. they could have built to anyone feet into their back yard. they have been sensitive to the neighbors' concerns. thank you. >> thank you. >> we have raised our two sons on this block. we have owned the home since
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1977. we really care about families and children, obviously. they regularly organize our block party and communications and other neighborhood concerns. they have outgrown their home and a proposing a lovely addition. with families and the number of children dropping every year, san francisco must keep families in our city, especially as a family such as this the contribute so much to our neighborhood and city. the families' support this edition and we appreciate how the planning department protect our city from the so-called monster homes. this is no monster home.
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we see that this addition will retain the scale and character of the 400 block and allow the families to remain on our block in san francisco. please allow them to build this as designed. >> thank you, next speaker. >> i will be reading a letter on behalf of -- "i'm writing in full support of the plans submitted to the planning department and hope that you will allow them to pursue the design they have presented. i'm the owner of the two-story home built in 1913. i have owned my home and i have seen much change. almost all of my neighbors have expanded their homes by increasing the height or the
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footprint or both. this trend has been to upgrade and expand the homes to fit modern tastes and lifestyles. in the past, they have been one or two bedroom cottages. they were much too small and impractical. it seems that my neighbors should have the right to alter their homes to fit their needs. allowing the owners to expand their home seems in keeping with the stated goal of making our city family friendly. the owners have been exemplary in their inclusion of the neighbors in the room model. they have made multiple concessions in regards to the size, design, location. the addition is completely compatible with others on our block and they add character and a beautiful of the sections.
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i urge you to approve the design without changes or conditions. i would like to say something really quickly on my own behalf. i have known his family for more than half of my life and i would like to say that this family is the glue that keeps the 400 block to get their. -- together. our block owes so much charm to this family. this would be a tragedy for us. >> thank you. is any other public comment? seeing none, we will move into rebuttal. >> my clients as me to thank the director and several of the commissioners and they urged the
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client appeal. secondly, one of the more easy to do with planners must be corrected on a few points. 3,300 feet, as the plan shows, the existing building has 825 feet of non inhabitable space and it will have the same in the 3300. i want to point out the she mentioned that the 15 foot guidelines is a codified ruled by the board of supervisors. you said "we're asking for an exception to the role." if it was an exemption on a variants, what is codified in
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this is language. these are suggestions only and the 15 foot guideline is a recommendation. i would challenge him to show me where the rule is could fight in the planning code. i wanted to point out a couple of things. what is most important and surprising is that it said that the proposed front set back provides a pedestrian scale and in hanses the street and i read that and i was really surprised that this was the court recommending is was not appropriate. this shows some internal arguments about this case and it
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suggested that it might come up tonight about perhaps a compromise where my clients can do an additional set back. they asked me to point out that every additional set back will have a negative impact many times more than the previous inches that have been given out. what the planning department is saying is that these can still be done at the top, they can have the open space and square footage and we can do away with that . this has not been designed, mr. macy has tried. i caution you to see that as a given. >> in your conclusion and in
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your brief, you talked about how the residential design team meets and how your client might prefer it if they actually were seeking a variances so that they can meet with an individual zoning administrator. can you talk about that? >> that was merely rhetoric, part and i hope it was taken that way. the design team does not meet with architects or with the project sponsor's owners. i can see why. they want and the objective of the. at the same time, some planners don't do as well as the project sponsor can end they are teaching the goals and needs and why there are decisions to cut back which don't meet the goals and don't work. it is a shame that simply cannot
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meet with -- which overrules the staffers that initiate the conversations with our clients. this rule is not in the code. if this was a variants, there would be a give and take at the hearing between my client, the architect, and the decision maker during that hearing. that is >> thank you. mr. sider? >> thank you for the opportunity to respond. first, just to reply to mr. gladstone's good-natured remarks about what the planning code does and does not say, i would
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quickly mention that planning codes section 311, subsection c, subsection one does require compliance with residential design guidelines, which mandates the 15-foot setback. there it is. secondly, with respect to square footage, possibly and misstated something. i am not sure. the point of which to communicate is that the square footage of the home as established by criteria lengths would be unaffected by the reconfiguration to address at the commission's concerns. let me back a second, if i could. one of the things that struck me during public comment was the tone of the commons. -- comments. it is refreshing to hear from a group of people that are
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enlightened about the character of their neighborhood and change to their neighborhood, the maturation of their neighborhood. i cannot begin to articulate how unusual that is. it is to be cherished. with that in mind, i need to address some of the things that are mentioned, to state what we are and are not talking about. at this point, we are not talking about building in the backyard. we are not talking about family housing reverses some other kind of housing. we are not even talking about size. what we are talking about is configuration, layout, interior space design. the commission ruled that this project had to play by the rules. that was the essence of their finding. commissioners, this can be done without any loss of living space. this is the fact i am struggling
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with. the commission decision did not require any reduction in square footage of this proposal. all that has to be done in order to take the proposal and make it consistent and compliant with the commission decision is a mild reconfiguration. same bedroom count, bathroom count, some offices, same art studios, some square footage. quickly, with these changes, with the externalization of open spaces, the project would also provide the established, longstanding residential design guidelines. we would respectfully urge you to uphold the planning commission decision and allow this to move forward. thank you. >> thank you. anything further from ddi? the matter is submitted.
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president goh: i have another question for mr. sider. i am looking at your submission, the third from the last -- it is an aerial photograph. maybe you could put it up. the arrows pointing to the subject house -- if you go up the hill to the peaked roof victorian, go up the hill, three houses, how tall are those buildings? i mean in terms of stories. they appear to be three stories. >> i believe so.
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let me look. it is dark, but i think this may illustrate. >> there you -- president goh: there you go. i can see that better. is this new construction? the two peaked roof buildings i see to the left of the tree -- >> they do not appear to be. we may have some material on the documents, but by all appearances they would be -- vice president garcia: i think the audience is trying to vigorously respond to your question. president goh: does the commissioner have a question for a member of the audience? vice president garcia: are they ? that is all. -- are they new? that is all. president goh: i am looking at
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your submittal below the subject property. there is another peaked roof building. maybe you can show us on your map. that goes a little bit further. oops. i see. two stories. thank you. commissioner hwang: can use circle around? i would like to see the rest of the neighborhood. president goh: that is a school
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across the street, isn't it? >> the play yard. some open space. president goh: what school is that? thank you. and you mentioned that the building into the rear yard was off the table. was that on the table at some point? >> it was my understanding that was a matter of discussion. the planning commission was considering the third story addition independent of a rear addition. i do not believe plans were ever drawn up for a rear addition, although i could be corrected. president goh: thank you. >> the staff asked the sponsor to drop plans for putting up two
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stories, i believe, into the rear yard, and doing a much smaller top floor. the client said that is not what the neighbors want. we are here to work with the neighbors. president goh: thank you. comments, commissioners? commissioner fung: i will start. having worked with the planning department and planning commission for 30-odd years, i do not think they are anti- family. and to a certain degree, some of their statements i would agree with. i would agree that the overall profile as proposed by the appellant could be fit in, even with the more extensive
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setbacks. the question here is, in terms of the rdg's, they are an element -- they are an amalgamation of a lot of experiences the planning department has had dealing with in this case, and prominently related to, a vertical extension and how to mitigate those impacts either to adjacent neighbors immediately or to a certain neighborhood in terms of the context. certain neighborhoods were much more vociferous in the adoption of those rdg's, and some wanted more extensive setbacks. with the vertical extension --
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there are a number of things that relate to the intent of why the setbacks are there. initially, they were there primarily because it was starting to be a proliferation of four story buildings within to story and three story neighborhoods. you did not really hear very much about the addition of a third story when it for started. i think it grew into greater compliance in terms of its usage as people recognize that for story buildings were not going to fly very well. the question, in terms of at this particular solution, needs to be looked at in terms of the front setback and the lack of a rare setback. the question is whether the
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front setback creates enough of a definition in the street plan of the building, and therefore demonstrates that there is an accommodation to the scale of adjacent buildings. in this particular instance, i find this setback does. i think the type of buildings that are both immediately adjacent and this particular one, the setback is enough to be able to demonstrate a change of plane, and therefore mitigate, to a certain extent, the addition, with respect to the neighbors. the rear yard, however, has very little setback. what is interesting is the fact, obviously, by all the people here, that nobody has complained about the rear yard.
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whether there is a question of impact by the fact that there is no set back in the rear yard, i hate to see the rdg's become cookie cutter as an approach by the planning department in how they view these residential editions. -- additions. i find the front setback is appropriate. the we're setback is really not required, because it is built into the fact that it is 21 feet. therefore, i would support overturning the department. -- the rear setback. commissioner peterson: i will go next, and i think primarily i agree with commissioner fung. i recognize this was a 4-3 bowed
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by the planning commissioners. that reflects that it was a difficult decision at that level. i must confess that when i hear about configuration and interior design issues, i think those reside with the property owner. i know we have talked a little bit about public opinion, but i think we see a growing shift in the city to respond to families as well as protect open space and alleviate shuttling and other concerns. this project certainly does that. with respect to the rationale of the decision, looking at what was written by the decision, the setback was needed to respect the existing building scale. i find the setback now, given properties with no set back, or very little -- i found that again the setback was met by no
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horizontal extension. i am inclined to overturn the department decision as well. commissioner hwang: i want to say thank you to the people who came out here and testified on behalf of the project sponsor. i think my view is that i agree there needs to be some adherents to these residential design guidelines. at the same time, it is hard. i also have to say, with respect
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to interior design issues, it is more difficult for me to consider them, way them, as heavily as i would the exterior. right now, i am not sure where i am going to fall. my inclination would be to overturn. president goh: i will jump in. i do not know where i am going to land either. i was taken by commissioner fung's view of the need for the 15 foot setback in the front. i agree the rear may not need to set back.
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i was a little confused about why the square footage empty space in the middle needed to be there rather than a larger deck on the front of the property. i recognize that this configuration and layout, as my fellow commissioners have mentioned. however, i was also moved by the fact that 12 of the 32 homes already have third stories and do not have a setback. we did see on mapjack or whatever that was it that it is true for several buildings on the block and across the street. i am torn. i do not know where i'm going to land. vice president garcia: i know for sure where i am going. i guess the people who support
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the planning department and planning commission were not able to get here. i think it has been marked by some other people it is extremely unusual to have even a few people come out in support of the project. usually, the people are here to express their concerns about some project and how it is going to affect them. this is refreshing. something came up in terms of whether the planning department is family friendly. i am sure they are not family unfriendly, but very often codes dictate against the needs of families and growing families. in particular, someone talked about a neighbor having combined two units, and that would be considered a dwelling unit merger. those are extremely difficult to get. the reason people need it is because of their families. i think the design here matches
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the needs of this particular family. absolutely we need to keep families in san francisco. i do not have the statistic in hand, but it is amazing how few homes in san francisco have more than two bedrooms. many more have fewer. as to the issue having to do with discretionary review, i do not disagree with mr. saito. the point to me is important. what does the army in? it is discretionary review of what, a code compliant project. this project is code compliant. the discretion exercised by the planning commission has to do
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with, in this case, in my opinion, giving greater weight to residential design guidelines then to the sentiment of people who are going to be affected by this and live in that neighborhood. i think it would be very -- i would not want to make the case that we should ignore the wants and desires and needs of this neighborhood in order to uphold rdg's there are exceptions to that. there are certainly 12 other buildings on this block, as have been stated, that have three stories that are not set back. to pay too great an adherence to rdg's would be similar to letting the castle burned down in order to save the moat. i do not intend to uphold
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planning. i am going to make a motion and hope those commissioners who said they were undecided will go along with it. i will moved that we overturn the department, allow the project to go forward as proposed, and as for the reason, it is that i think it is not -- first of all, it addresses other needs in the code. those needs have to do with families and fostering buildings that provide for families and growing families. in addition, i think rdg's are just that, guidelines. i do not think it is necessary to have strict adherence. >> i believe i heard other commissioners state aid finding that the existing set back is consistent with residential design guidelines.

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